Basic Risotto

This is risotto’s ground-zero; risotto stripped right back to it’s bare bones of rice, stock and cheese – the basics. Basic Risotto is, in essence, the root-recipe for all risotto but don’t be fooled, just because it’s simple doesn’t mean that it isn’t incredibly tasty! In this risotto, the cheese is the true star of the show; without any other strong flavours compete with, the parmesan takes centre-stage and boy, does it shine!

A cheese lover’s dream come true, basic risotto is blissfully velvety, coddlingly rich and packs a knock-out parmesan punch that leaves you wanting more. This is home cooked comfort food at it cheesy best.

RECIPE NOTE: The rice quantities for these recipes vary depending on the number of people you are feeding and whether you intend making the risotto as a main meal or an accompaniment. As a general rule of thumb, I use approx. 70-80ml of rice per person for a main meal and 50-60ml as an side dish. Generally, risotto recipes on my blog are based on 2 people eating a full portion.

BASIC RISOTTO: Serves 2

  • Half an onion, finely chopped
  • 100ml wine (white for Risotto Bianco or red for Risotto Rosso)
  • 50g butter
  • 150ml risotto rice
  • A large pot of good quality hot stock, chicken or vegetable

For the mantecare:

  • 50g butter, cold & cubed (keep refrigerated until needed)
  • 50g parmesan or pecorino, finely grated (keep refrigerated until needed)

METHOD:

  1. First make sure your chosen stock is hot and is on a medium simmer.
  2. Set a kitchen timer to 18 minutes but don’t start the clock just yet.
  3. Heat the butter into a thick based saucepan (I use a cast iron pot), then add the diced onions. Lightly sauté the onions till soft, being careful not to brown them.
  4. Add all the rice to the onions and coat the rice in the butter. This is a vital step in the cooking process and should not be skipped. Sauté for a minute or so on a medium heat until the rice begins to look shiny and a little opaque (be careful that the onions don’t burn).
  5. Add the wine to the saucepan, increase the heat up to a high-medium and allow the rice to absorb the all the liquid.
  6. Now start the timer – for the next 18 minutes you will need to remain focused on the risotto.
  7. Add your first ladle of hot stock, you want enough stock to just cover the rice.
  8. Using a wooden spoon, stir the rice every minute or so. You must pay particular attention to the bottom of the pan as you don’t want the rice to stick. The rice will start to absorb the stock and once you are able to “cut through” the rice to the bottom of the pan with your spoon, it is time to add more stock. Never let the rice dry out completely.
  9. Continue adding stock in this fashion until you are about a minute and a half away from the end of the 18 minutes. Check to see if the risotto needs any more stock, if so add it but do so judiciously – you don’t want to end up with a soupy risotto. After this point you don’t want to add any more stock.
  10. When the timer sounds, take the pan off the heat and put to one side (uncovered). Set your timer for an additional 2 minutes and allow the risotto to rest.
  11. Now for the mantecare. Remove your cold butter cubes and grated cheese from the fridge. Once the risotto has rested for 2 minutes, add your butter cubes – stir until the butter is incorporated completely. Add most of the grated cheese and stir to combine.

Check for seasoning and add accordingly.

Spoon out onto warmed plates and sprinkle of the remaining cheese.

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